In the two years since its creation, the Honduran National Anti-Gang Force (FNAMP, in Spanish) has achieved significant results, including the arrest of more than 1,680 gang members and the seizure of more than 330 weapons and some 4 tons of drugs, the institution said in a video posted on Facebook for its second anniversary.
“We try to undermine these structures at every level of their organization, leaders, intermediary leaders who are the heads of sectors, the people who commit these crimes […], those who collect the money, those who sell drugs […], to undermine [these] structures at every level and have control at correctional facilities,” Honduran Army Lieutenant Colonel Amílcar Hernández, FNAMP director, told Diálogo.
Among the FNAMP’s successes is the arrest in early September 2020 of Luis Humberto Medina Campos, alias El Coreano, the alleged leader of the Mara Salvatrucha — also known as MS-13 — for the country’s northwestern area. During the operation in San Pedro Sula, Cortés department, authorities also arrested Josselin Abigail López, alias La China, who worked as El Coreano’s assistant, the Honduran newspaper La Tribuna reported.
In addition to the captures, the FNAMP said on its Twitter account that its units seized several firearms, grenades, drug packages (marijuana and crack), computers, and an unmanned aerial vehicle.
According to the FNAMP, El Coreano’s job was to set up clandestine antennas near penitentiary centers nationwide, to enable cellular communication among free and imprisoned gang members. Authorities also accused El Coreano of setting up closed-circuit security camera networks and systems in different neighborhoods where the gang has control, La Tribuna reported.
In June 2020, units of the FNAMP raided a house in San Pedro Sula that MS-13 used as a weapons warehouse. Authorities found AR-15, Uzi, and AK-47 rifles, handguns, grenade launchers, explosives, grenades, and more than $40,000 in cash. According to Lt. Col. Hernández, the operation was “one of the most important weapon seizures that the Anti-Gang Force has carried out against the MS-13 structure.”
Other notable achievements by the FNAMP include the following captures:
–Walter Alexander Betancourt Cruz, alias El Gury, a Pandilla 18 leader for the country’s central area, arrested in early January 2020, in Francisco Morazán department.
–Howin Alexis Romero, alias El Ráton, a Pandilla 18 leader for the country’s northern area, captured in San Pedro Sula in September 2019.
–Carlos Alberto Álvarez Cruz, alias Cholo Houston, alleged third-in-command of MS-13, captured in August 2019.
–José Luis Lara Rodríguez, alias El Valiente, a Pandilla 18 leader at the national level, neutralized in January 2019.
The successful results, the FNAMP said, came about thanks to cooperation with national and international security and justice agencies to counter criminal organizations.
“We must have this coordination with those friendly countries, in the logistics aspect with the U.S. Embassy and the offices of the Attorney General of the Northern Triangle, in order to dismantle the structures of these criminal groups that don’t respect boundaries,” Lt. Col. Hernández concluded.